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Hotel Experience: Adapting to the ‘New Normal’ at Avani

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Use of Ultra Violet Light is central to new protocols to conform to CDC and WHO standards at Avani

GAZETTE REPORTER

The hospitality industry has been sent into a tailspin by the sudden onslaught of the coronavirus crisis. From lockdowns to travel bans and border closures, hotels are having to navigate more uncertain waters than ever before. Because the hotel industry are seeing a rapid resumption of ‘normal’ activity, they are also primed to embrace a host of new practices while adapting to a hotel experience that is just as personalised but far less hands on.

Hotels are implementing enhanced protocols for sanitation and cleanliness, offering new and different services when it comes to hosting their guests and introducing new technologies that will benefit guests and staff alike. One thing is certain – checking into a hotel will be different post-lockdown.

Avani Hotels & Resort in Gaborone has prepared to welcome its guests back and they have rolled out new health and safety measures across its portfolio. Styled AvaniShield, this new programme will see all 32 properties in 18 countries gradually adopt a range of heightened hygiene and sanitising standards to ensure the health and safety of guests and team members. The primary initiatives will be driven by adoption of new technology, such as digital menus and HEPA- grade air purifiers, all in compliance with the guidelines issued by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“Our life has been impacted but our spirit to travel will never fade,” said Javier Pardo, Vice President of Operations for Avani Hotels & Resorts, in a statement. “The implementation of new health and safety standards adds an additional layer of protection by bringing peace of mind to Avani guests and team members, as well as emphasising our commitment to ensuring health and safety without compromising on service quality. Not stopping at these measures, we are currently reviewing additional initiatives focusing on rebuilding the environment and the health of the planet threatened by climate change, such as our zero-trash programme and carbon footprint reduction measures.”

During these unprecedented times, hoteliers have a rare opportunity to connect with the wider industry, make internal improvements and, most importantly, update and reevaluate existing health and safety procedures. To ensure that their guests will return to a safe space, the hotel has implemented contactless greeting with their guests and Ultra Violet C Sterilisation where the front office will be utilising UVC sterilisation boxes to disinfect key cards, stationery and other high touch objects.

In addition, the housekeeping team has begun testing a cleaning method with UVC light as an extra layer of protection after cleaning which is proven to kill germs and bacteria with 99.99% effectiveness. The hotel will also be setting up disinfectant processes to sanitise incoming luggage, boxes and supplies.

But even before the outbreak of the virus, Avani says it had been working closely with deluxe room care and will continue doing so to ensure that all materials and measures adhere to WHO standards. As an extra precaution in the post-COVID-19 world, the hotel will be monitoring the overall health of Avani team members and conducting training sessions on new health and safety regulations. After cleaning, each guest room will be sealed for 24 hours – a resting period during which the housekeeping team cannot enter. This waiting period will become mandatory prior to allocating rooms to guests. All new or existing partners, suppliers and third parties such as tour operators and transportation service providers will need to comply with the new safety measures, regular sanitising and ensuring guest protection.

At the restaurants, buffets will be replaced with food preparation focusing on freshness, safe food handling, and Avani’s zero waste initiative. Additionally, restaurants will be spacing out tables to practice physical distancing, while walk-in guests will be asked for their contact details to facilitate contact tracing. Menus will be available digitally. The facility’s gym will follow the physical distancing rule, ensuring that only a small number of guests are exercising at a given time, providing a breathing period after each use, and implementing new sanitising measures such as anti-viral coating.

Avani Hotel has also released an internal protocol regulating the use of protective face masks, frequency of temperature checks and a disinfection process for team members entering work premises, with the measures varying from country to country. Said the Resident Manager of Avani Gaborone Resort and Casino, Candice Selato: “Rolling out AvaniSHIELD was necessitated by the outbreak of COVID-19, and the response thereof.”

She added that AvaniShield enhances the cleaning protocols that have always been in place. “This programme does not only ensure the safety of our guests but that of our team members and partners as well,” he said. “We are confident that with AvaniShield, our guests will feel safer in our environment.”

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